Timothy J. Kent
Historical Author, Paddler, and Reenactor

 

 

 

 

 

A Modern-Day Voyageur Family
Paddling the 3,000 Fur Trade Canoe Route Across the U.S. and Canada
by
Timothy J. Kent


When Kevin and Ben Kent were ages seven and five, their parents conceived an exciting, enriching, and educational project for the family. As a team, they began paddling the 3,000 mile length of the mainline fur trade canoe route across the U.S. and Canada, retracing the steps of their French ancestors. This ancient native route, which consisted of an extensive series of rivers and lakes, stretched from Montreal to the Great Lakes to Ft. Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca, in northern Alberta. This was the primary highway on which most fur trade, military, and religious personnel had traveled and hauled cargo into and out of the interior regions of North America during the entire fur trade era.

Successfully paddling this ancient water highway from end to end over a series of fifteen consecutive summer trips, the Kent family experienced daunting challenges and terrifying calamities, as well as innumerable thrills and a great deal of satisfaction. In the process, the members of the family also absorbed much geography and history, and, most importantly, developed an appreciation of their own inner strengths.

This engrossing and thought-provoking account of the adventures of the family incorporates a considerable amount of fur trade history, in which their direct French ancestors participated from about 1618 to at least 1758. A Modern-Day Voyageur Family, written by one of the pre-eminent historians of the fur trade era, serves as both a source of inspiration and a guidebook for other families, couples, and individuals who wish to paddle all or portions of the historic route, or various other wilderness waterways. It also provides vicarious experiences and myriad lessons for those individuals whose venturing usually takes place in a safe reading chair on land. This work consists of a vivid adventure story, a how-to guide, and a primer on virtually all aspects of the French fur trade, all in one volume.

The hardcover book, containing 760 pages, is illustrated with 36 color photographs and maps, and is accompanied by a stunning DVD containing 370 color photos, with a narrative and musical accompaniment by Tim Kent and Friends. This paired set will be of considerable interest to active paddlers, as well as enthusiasts of fur trade, military, missionary, colonial, and canoeing history.